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'Outrageous' footbridge delays are criticised by community

PUBLISHED: 10:00 27 March 2019

Tate & Lyle, the Brick Lane Music Hall and community groups have criticised Crossrail for delays in reopening the footbridge linking Connaught Road with Factory Road. Picture: KEN MEARS

Tate & Lyle, the Brick Lane Music Hall and community groups have criticised Crossrail for delays in reopening the footbridge linking Connaught Road with Factory Road. Picture: KEN MEARS

Archant

Crossrail’s continued delays to upgrading a footbridge have ‘severed an artery’ and left a community feeling abandoned and angry.

That’s the message from theatre director Vincent Hayes who runs Brick Lane Music Hall in Silvertown as he joined Tate and Lyle Sugars to call on the rail firm to reopen the vital link between Connaught Road and Factory Road.

Vincent said: “It’s an artery that’s been severed. Silvertown and North Woolwich have been abandoned since the work began.

“It affects everyone here. It’s outrageous. They’ve got some of the most modern machinery. With all the brains that have designed this railway they can’t raise a footbridge a few feet?”

The walkway closed in 2017 forcing many employees at the Tate & Lyle Sugars factory, which employs more than 800 people, to take a 20 to 25 minute detour from Pontoon Dock DLR station to get to work.

The footbridge linking Connaught Road with Factory Road. Picture: KEN MEARSThe footbridge linking Connaught Road with Factory Road. Picture: KEN MEARS

The job was supposed to be done after six weeks but the footbridge is now due to reopen in September.

The firm’s local affairs manager, Chris Abell, said: “The situation has been chaotic. We were given four different dates when it would reopen.

“It’s a massive inconvenience.”

He added that staff no longer pop across to shops on the other side of the line and a spate of muggings along the detour route raised fears among night shift staff.

Potential recruits had also been late for job interviews and customers inconvenienced, he said.

Older veterans hoping to join Remembrance Day marches to the war memorial at Brick Lane Music Hall had also been put off because they couldn’t take a short cut across the bridge.

“This started as a minor irritation, but our staff and people in the community are really cross about it now,” Chris said.

The condition of the bridge, which needs raising and its staircases covered to protect people from overhead cables, was found to be in poor condition when it closed.

Work has been done to strengthen its deck and staircases.

A Crossrail spokesmain said: “The footbridge over the railway at Silvertown is an important crossing, particularly for workers at the nearby Tate & Lyle factory.

“The footbridge is in a poor condition and will reopen in September once remedial works are completed. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

To sign a petition calling for the footbridge to reopen visit change.org

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